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turn his talents to a variety of uses. When he scraped the fees together, and went in for the course of dinners, he was supposed to be specially eligible for various occupations. The Temple was at no great distance from Grub Street and Paternoster Row; and many a Templar was in debted for lodging and board to the intimate relations he established with the booksellers. After the debates in Parliament and the proceedings in the law courts came to be regularly reported, a new vocation was opened to him. Not a few lords chancellor, like Lord Campbell, and many of our most eminent judges, climbed to the woolsack or the bench by the stairs of the reporters' gallery. With a practically unlimited capacity for work, the one pursuit did not interfere with the other; though now that reporting is more systematic and infinitely better paid than formerly, we fancy that a fatal facility in shorthand cuts short some tolerably promising careers.
But literature nowadays is the seduction that in one shape or another changes the bent of many a young barrister's ambition. And the cleverer he is, if he have no legal connections, the more likely he is to be tempted aside. Should he be a literary genius, there is nothing to be said against that; but the danger is that he slips down between the two stools. He may miss the professional success that perseverance and study would have as sured him; and never rise in the army of the pen beyond the rank of a carefully drilled subaltern. To be sure the seduction of literary pursuits is very great in many cases. Semi-starvation or rigid economy are disagreeable things at the best; and it is even more trying perhaps to a man of energetic disposition to put himself into indefinite training for the performances that may never come off. He sits in his solitary chamber, buried among his books, listening to the steps up the staircase that never stop at his door. The heart is sickened with hopes deferred, as the banker's account is drawn down to a shadowy balance. He seems to have gathered law enough at the least for all he is likely to make of it in the mean time; it will be time enough to extend his reading when the briefs and fees begin to tumble in. Meanwhile his neighbor Smith, a dull enough fellow in all conscience, has a profitable engagement on the staff of the Morning Star; while Jones, who is shallow if he can sparkle occasionally, has been pushing an extensive connection with the magazines. He decides to try
his own luck, and possibly succeeds. He makes a certain mark as a political critic, and is retained as a writer of leading articles. He is on duty three or four nights in the week, till all hours in the morning. The pay is good - he may afford to marry on it- but then, so far as the bar is concerned, he goes no further. Very few men have either the strength or the versatility to shift their seats between a couple of boxes and drive so different a pair of teams; so law goes to the wall when journalism engrosses the intellect.
Literature ranks high now among the irregular professions; nor need one pay entry money at the gloomy gates of the Temple to enter the Elysian Fields on fair terms. Most clever boys - girls too, for that matter are more or less inclined to scribble; and they are so disposed to think highly of their own performances, that till they are disillusioned, they are buoyed up by delusive hope. And literature is become a profession like another, and a decent and reputable profession for those who are adapted to it. It is not now as in the days of Samuel Johnson, when a steady literary genius might be doomed to take his victuals behind a screen be cause his clothes were disreputable even to indecency. There is no reason now why a brilliant Savage, starving one week, and carousing the next, should be hurried by ill-regulated talents to the devil, and brought to sleep on the benches in the parks, because he cannot hire a bed in a garret. Successful literature depends on fair health, like the law and medicine, and many other callings; but with fair health it offers safe emoluments, on the strength of which the family man may insure his life. Many a leading leader-writer on the metropolitan press has the income of a dean: many a rector or vicar, with glebe lands sinking in value or tithes falling in arrear, might gladly change places with not a few of the minor lights. The provincial press pays liberally likewise; and there are scores of editors of flourishing provincial journals who would not be easily tempted to London. Make a name by a book on some special subject, and the name will sell very indifferent articles at fancy prices. Literature must be treated as well as politics, and there is a steady demand besides for general articles, so that writers of versatility have many strings to their bow. Novels have become so common, the market has been so overstocked by the swarms of facile writers who rush into it, that we cannot speak confidently of profits in that department.
Nevertheless there are still good prizes to be gained by the novelists who attain to notoriety and popularity; and the demand for serial fiction in the provinces and in the colonies opens broad vistas of speculation. And in literature, according to the branch that is followed, one may either make a considerable name, or else exert a secret influence on events which may be more gratifying to many people. The popular novelist or poet is feted and flattered in his coterie, if not by society in general. The influential editor, or leaderwriter, or critic, is followed and toadied by many folks, who frequently carry obsequiousness the length of servility; while the brilliant essayist, dropping the anony mous in an appreciative circle of his own, perhaps savors the sweetness of an incense more quietly gratifying than any other. For the chances are he is an entertaining companion, with gifts that make him the delight of a small round dinner-table. But we need hardly repeat that the aspirant must have natural aptitudes, otherwise he need count upon nothing but disappointment and heart-breaking failure. We have no faith in the theory paradoxically set forth by some of our successful writers, that a youth may be trained to the author's blotting-pad as to the three-legged stool in a merchant's office; though dogged determination may make him a literary drudge which is among the worst paid as it is the most precarious and repulsive of callings.
But we cannot dismiss the career with out allusion to the department which is the romance of the profession. We refer, of course, to the war correspondence of the journals. It is melancholy to think how much our histories might have gained had the war correspondent been among the camp-followers of a Marlborough, a Peterborough, or a Wellington. Though, on second thoughts, it is absurd to talk of the war correspondent as content to take his place among the camp-followers. On the contrary, it is his business to be always in the front, and to face the shells and the bullets without the hope of medals or promotion. Should he fall, the utmost his modesty need expect is an obituary notice by his colleagues, and a tribute in the journal he scribbles for. Yet, in a way, the ingenious and dashing corre spondent does gain reputation at the cannon's mouth and social distinction besides, to say nothing of more solid advantages. Commanders-in-chief and generals of division may dislike him: they may dread those trenchant and unprofessional criti
cisms which he strikes off, almost in the saddle, at a moment's notice: they detest him when fortune is declaring against them. But for their own sakes they are bound to be civil to him, since they know how much he has in his power. It is not so easy to fight down a condemnatory letter that has been condensed into half the European languages. So the corre spondent in the rush of the invading columns that peacefully carries some stagnant provincial town, has snug quarters as signed him by a grumbling quartermaster. He is invited to take camp luck on filets of horseflesh, when the fighting men are sighing for the rations that are far in the rear with the commissariat wagons; and he smokes cigars of a quiet evening with statesmen who are already revolving momentous conditions of peace. Though it is de rigueur that his letters should be unsigned, if they make their mark they give his name a wide notoriety; and the proprietors of the paper make much of the man who could so easily provide himself with another situation. The life is rough and often perilous; but then the pay and allowances are good in propor. tion. The correspondent at the top of the tree has carte blanche for horses, conveyances, etc., and, of course, for telegrams, while sometimes he receives almost fabulous pay, which naturally he has few opportunities of spending. Happily for him, there are always "little wars" by way of interludes to the big ones, though a march to Ashanti or through the Mountains of the Moon may be more trying than the sharpest campaign on the Danube. But even the piping times of peace are by no means an unmixed misfortune to him. They give him leisure to "recu perate," as the Americans say, from a strain that would become insupportable were it never to be relaxed. The man who can scribble brightly in the saddle or over the camp-fire, is sure to have considerable versatility of talents; and in any case it is worth while to give him a handsome retaining fee to keep him available for the next emergency. He makes a small fortune besides, by signing his name to magazine articles, in which he works up his waste material till his webs become flimsy and threadbare.
We might discourse on the subject of those side professions indefinitely; but the sum and conclusion of the whole matter seems to be, that where one cannot be sure of a promising start, the secret of life is seizing on opportunities.
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"HE HAS COME BACK."
WITHOUT, the wintry sky is overcast :
Because of half-way things that hald
The floods descend-fierce hail and rush- Prudence that is but trust in gold,
Whilst ever and anon the raving blast
Within our darling beats an angrier air
With piteous outstretched arms and tossing head;
Whilst we, bowed low beside his laboring bed,
Pour all our hearts in prayer.
And faith that is but fear of death-
Thou stay'st thy hand from finishing things,
Because in careless confidence,
So oft we leave the narrow way, Its borders thorny hedges fence,
Beyond them marshy deeps affray; Lo! farther on, the heavenly road Lies through the gardens of our God.
Because thy sheep so often still
Forsakes the meadow, cool and damp, To climb the stony, grassless hill,
Or wallow in the slimy swamp, Thy sicknesses, where'er he roam, Go after him and bring him home.
One day, all fear, all ugliness,
All pain, all discord, low or loud, All selfishness, and all distress,
Shall melt like low-spread morning cloud, And heart and brain be free from thrall, Because thou, God, art all in all.
BY GEORGE MACDONALD.
THY world is made to fit thine own,
Because from selfishness and wrath, Our cold and hot extremes of ill, We grope and stagger on the path,
Thou tell'st us from thy holy hill, With icy storms and sunshine rude, That we are all unripe in good.
Because of snaky things that creep
Through our soul's sea, dim-undulant, Thou fill'st the mystery of thy deep
With faces heartless, grim and gaunt; That we may know how ugly seem The things our spirit-oceans teem.
IN THE FIR-WOODS.
GREY pines, companions of my solitude, Which with the change of seasons cannot change,
Contracted to life's narrowing winter range, Cloistered within the aisles of this sad wood!
Teach me your wisdom, patriarchs! Ye have stood
Patient three hundred years, nor thought it strange,
Yourselves unstirred, to watch in farm and grange
Man's transitory race ten times renewed.
Ye murmur not: what though spring's wizard hands
Waft you no love-gifts; though nor orient
Nor sunset have ye gazed on; though the breeze
Thrills you with flattering music from far lands
You scarce dare dream of; though rills past
Babbling wayfarers, bound for venturous
J. A. SYMONDS.
From The Nineteenth Century.
MOST people will by this time have read Mr. Drummond's book, "Natural Law in the Spiritual World." Some consider that its publication begins a fresh era in the history of theological study, and that its author has really discovered an entirely new way of approaching the subject. Even those who doubt whether he has succeeded in showing, as he professes to do, that the study of the Christian religion is only a higher branch of natural science, have been fascinated by his work. It certainly presents spiritual truths in a new light, and brings them home in a manner which we have long ceased to expect from either commentary or ser
I am not, however, about to review this book. I only wish to call attention to a particular chapter, and to consider it as an illustration not of religious, but political life. I mean the chapter on "Parasit ism." We find there a description of a creature which once had eyes and ears like other animals, legs that could walk and swim, and jaws with which it could eat, but which, by fixing itself into the body of a shell-crab, and acquiring the habit of drawing all its sustenance, ready digested, from the creature to which it has attached itself, gradually loses all its limbs, all its organs of every description, and becomes a mere bulb. Mr. Drummond makes use of this image to depict the character of the indolent, unreasoning adherent of a popular preacher; but, my head being full of politics when I read it, I could not help applying the description to a large number of those who take part in public life, who attend monster meet ings, and who, without ever having thought seriously for themselves, nevertheless, by their mere number and the loudness of their voices, exercise a strong influence upon the decision of important questions.
established. A Roman citizen at the time of the empire is the first example that occurs to me, and we may find many others -a Greek, for instance, or an Italian in those cities which, having been republics, had fallen into the hands of a tyrant. The French during the Second Empire showed marked signs of getting into the same condition. But the French never do anything like anybody else, and they have, I hope, succeeded in breaking their bonds. Such bonds have very seldom been broken before. In general, tyranny does not come till the citizens have thoroughly degenerated, and when it has once come it does not pass away, for the simple reason that the citizens are unable to exist without it. Perhaps the true reason of the extraordinary recovery of the French is that their tyranny was an accidental one, and that the degeneration necessary for it to flourish had not really taken place, though, as I have said, it was beginning as a result of the tyranny.
The connection between Cæsarism and the degeneration of the people is one of action and reaction. Either may come first, but in most cases it is, I think, the latter. History, I think, teaches us this, and it also teaches us that for some rea son or other this degeneration very often takes place after the establishment of a democracy. It is, moreover, to be noted, that when it follows the establishment of a democracy, it follows it almost immediately. The difficulty, therefore, for democracy is to obtain a fair start. If it is not strangled at its birth, it may be expected to go on living, and the longer it lasts the better hope is there of its resisting its natural enemies, degeneration and the Cæsarism which is its accompani ment.
There has been much discussion as to whether there is, or is not, such a thing as a science of history. This science, if it exists, is, I admit, very imperfect. There is no doubt, however, that in cerBut I postpone for the moment any tain respects history has a strong tenallusion to the present day. The little dency to repeat itself; and it is possible animal described by Mr. Drummond is sometimes to form a pretty accurate forean admirable type of the inhabitants of a cast of the future by observing what on civilized nation which formerly enjoyed other occasions has been the result of liberty, but in which despotism has been circumstances similar to the present.